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San Diego Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding cerebral palsy as a birth injury

San Diego parents who await the birth of their children with joy and anticipation have much to look forward to. Sadly, for some parents, the realities of what lie ahead can be very different than the original expectations. Birth injuries can change the course of babies’ and parents’ lives forever. Cerebral palsy is one condition that can result from a birth injury. WebMD.com indicates that up to 20 percent of people with cerebral palsy contracted it due to an injury sustained during birth.

Cerebral palsy may not be evident upon birth even if the associated brain damage took place at that time. Many children are not able to be diagnosed until two or three years of age. Up to 50 percent of cerebral palsy sufferers can exhibit symptoms of mental retardation and seizure disorders. CerebralPalsy.org also notes that fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance, posture and speech may all be negatively impacted.

Dog bite realities in San Diego County

Pets are a big part of many people’s lives. But, pets—especially dogs—can be the cause of serious injury or trauma to humans. Even dog owners can become the victims of attacks depending upon the circumstances. It is important for everyone in San Diego County to have an understanding on how prevalent serious dog bites really are.

A report issued by NBC San Diego indicates that between 2012 and 2013, the number of reported bites by dogs increased by 28 percent. In San Diego County, any dog that has been reported to have bitten a human must be isolated for at least a period of 10 days. If the same dog is reported to have bitten at least one more person within a span of four years, that dog will be officially labelled as dangerous. The county’s Department of Animal Services is reported to investigate as many as 2,500 dog bites annually.

What is Erb’s palsy?

Expectant parents in San Diego deserve to enjoy every moment of the nine months of pregnancy and look forward to the moment when they hold their new loved one. Most of the time, this is exactly what can happen. However, there are sadly times when problems occur during the labor and delivery process that turns what should be a joyous occasion into a tragedy. One all-too common form of birth injury that can make this happen is known as Erb's palsy.

According to information provided by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on its orthoinfo.org website, the formal name for Erb’s palsy is brachial plexus palsy. The word palsy refers to the weakness and the brachial plexus is the group of nerves in the neck region that control sensation and motor functioning through the shoulders and arms. As many as two out of every 1,000 babies can become affected by Erb’s palsy when these delicate nerves sustain damage during birth.

California hospital sued after teenage girl declared brain dead

Parents in San Diego understand the angst that any medical condition involving their children can create. When medical problems come at the hands of physicians, dentists, nurses and other healthcare professionals expected to care for patients, the tragedies can become even more somber. Medical malpractice is generally defined as the failure to provide a reasonable standard of care.

This can be in the form of a misdiagnosis, a surgical error or some other situation. One California family is currently facing issues arising from a surgical procedure that their daughter underwent just over one year ago, at the age of 13. A lawsuit has been filed in the case and alleges that the girl was subjected to an invasive surgery that may not have been necessary. Additionally, reports indicate that the surgeon failed to share with other staff members his observation of a problem with the girl’s carotid artery that could leave her vulnerable to excessive bleeding.

A look at pedestrian accidents in San Diego

The temperature climate of San Diego County allows residents to enjoy many outdoor activities year round. With the onset of spring upon us, an even greater number of people will be outside soon walking, jogging and more. As this happens, the dangers to pedestrians become more apparent. People can be involved in a pedestrian accident in a variety of situations including in a parking lot, in a crosswalk or other part of an intersection and on a sidewalk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website note that people 65 and over represented 19 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 11 percent of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident in 2010. In another 20 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents, victims were children from five to nine years old. In all, close to 40 percent of the people who died in a fatal pedestrian accident across the country in 2010 were in those two age brackets.

What is considered a vicious dog California?

A dog may commonly be referred to as man’s best friend, but unfortunately there are times when this best friend can cause injury to others and even pose serious liability issues for dog owners. San Diego residents should be aware of the state’s laws governing dog bites and learn when they should seek legal help.

The Animal Legal and Historical Center website outlines some of the parameters that California law follows when determining the level of danger posed by a certain dog. The severity of any injury caused or alleged is one of the factors used in this determination. An injury that results from a dog attack can be deemed to be severe if victims experience any of the following:

  • Cuts that cause disfiguration such as scarring.
  • The need for more than one suture.
  • Tearing of the muscle tissue.
  • Required cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.

Will California’s medical malpractice damage cap be overturned?

San Diego County residents who suffer injuries due to the negligence of medical providers in any fashion deserve the right to seek compensation. The law does allow for this regardless of the nature of the medical mistake. Failure to diagnose an illness, an error during a surgery or any action which can be classified as the failure to provide an acknowledged reasonable standard of care are all causes for a medical malpractice claim.

California is one of the states in the country that maintains a limit on the amount of money that can be awarded for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Voters in the state had the opportunity in November of 2014 to increase the limit from $250,000 to a proposed $1.1 million but the measure failed in the election. Medscape recently noted, however, that this effort to change the state’s existing cap on medical malpractice damages may not be completely lost.

13-year-old California boy injured in attack by police dog

Police departments throughout California, and elsewhere, have added trained dogs to their forces. Often aiding in the discovery of evidence and the apprehension of suspects, these K-9 officers have become valuable members of their departments. The law enforcement agencies that rely on police dogs generally take steps to ensure the safety of the animals, as well as the public. This includes not allowing the dogs out of the vehicle unless they are directly involved in a police action, or are under the direct supervision of their handlers.

A police dog in Tracy attacked a 13-year-old boy recently, sending him to the hospital. The teen suffered bruises to his body and dog bite injuries to his arm in the dog attack. According to reports, he attempted to run away when the dog came barreling at him, but was unable to outrun the K-9. The teen was reportedly released after being taken by ambulance to the hospital. It was not made clear, however, whether he would suffer any scarring or require additional medical treatment as a result of his injuries.

Are energy drinks hazardous to Californians’ health?

Energy drinks, such as Monster Energy drinks, Red Bulls and Rockstar Energy Drinks, are common beverages of choice for people in San Diego, and elsewhere. Not only do people enjoy the taste of these sweet, sugar-filled beverages, they also enjoy the jolt of energy that they provide. Recent news reports and studies, however, have shown that these beverages may actually be hazardous to people’s health and could potentially cause death. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been 34 deaths linked to the consumption of energy drinks since 2004. These wrongful deaths are, in large part, believed to be due to the significant amounts of caffeine that are found in these types of drinks.

Many people are ignorant as to how caffeine can impact the body. Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. As such, it can have a number of effects on the body. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some of the most common effects include the following:

  •        Making people feel shaky or jittery
  •        Increasing people’s heart rate or causing an uneven heart rhythm
  •        Raising people’s blood pressure
  •        Causing dehydration
  •        Making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep

Birth injuries may cause cerebral palsy for San Diego children

Cerebral palsy is a common medical condition affecting many people in San Diego, and throughout the U.S. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention that approximately one out of every 323 children in the U.S. suffers from cerebral palsy. The condition, which typically manifests early in a child’s life, impacts people’s motor skills and muscle coordination. There is still much to be learned about the exact causes of cerebral palsy, however, birth injuries appear to be a common contributing factor. 

A type of brain injury, cerebral palsy is caused by an abnormality in a child’s brain development, or by damage to a developing brain. This can be the result of any number of factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common risk factors include the following:

  • Infant or maternal infections
  • Fetal stroke
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Random gene mutations
  • Lack of oxygen to the body and brain

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